CLEAR LAKE, IA – A north Iowa family has been working for half a year to establish an autism center for children and their families and all that hard work is now taking shape.
“When you get the diagnosis of autism that’s hard enough to handle but then the feelings of isolation and being alone and that no body understands takes over, and if you don’t have anybody to talk to its very lonely. I’ve been there.”
Both of Christina Maulsby’s sons have been diagnosed with autism and since then, Christina and her husband have dedicated their lives to help their sons.
They’ve converted their basement in their home into a mini-autism center and the boys go through hours of work on a daily basis.
“We had been doing a lot of services with my son through Opportunity Village they were coming to my home and things were going really well with us but I started talking to other moms and realizing the lack of services that were in this area,” explains Maulsby.
So she took action and partnered up with Opportunity Village in Clear Lake and now Christina is taking what’s she’s learned in her own home and is hoping to help other families with the new autism center.
It’s a project Christina calls, “her dream”.
“The Village has always been a grass-roots mission based organization based on people’s needs and we had a group of people that have come forth with a set of needs and we feel like we can address those needs,” says Michael Mahaffey with Opportunity Village.
The center is in its early stages but recently received a grant from the united way which was instrumental in getting it off the ground.
Christina and the folks at The Village plan on having parent to parent support groups, educational seminars and they hope to eventually implement the evidence based therapies that Christina says have worked wonders with her boys.
“To have in-home services were we can eventually go in and do one on one services with your child and then eventually we’ll be able to have an onsite clinic where children can come to us and we’ll be able to do extensive one on one therapy,” she adds.
The center would be a first for north Iowa, right now families have to travel to either Minneapolis or Des Moines for this kind of center.
The first parent-to-parent support group from the center will be next Thursday at 6 pm at The Village.
If you’d like to donate to the Autism Center, you can do so through Opportunity Village.